35 Barrows Road
One of the few breweries in St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewing makes craft beers with Canadian ingredients and Newfoundland charm. “Unfortunately, Newfoundland doesn’t grow many of the ingredients that go into making beer,” states Marketing Manager Justin Fong. “But most of our ingredients come from Canada, so we’re still trying to keep it as close to home as possible!”
Since the brewery was established in 1996, it’s worked to promote the local craft drink industry. “Our main focus to make great beer and continue to lead the Newfoundland craft scene as it grows,” says Fong. They began focusing on draft beers over the last few years, and as a result, have seen an increase in Newfoundland draft beer sales (by approximately 25 percent).
The beer lineup includes eight brands, each suited to a different taste profile within the beer industry. For example, Iceberg Beer is made with water “harvested” from Newfoundland’s icebergs; it’s a light lager for those who prefer a refreshing brew with very little aftertaste. 1892 Traditional Ale, made to commemorate the year of the great fire in St. John’s, is a full-bodied, reddish ale for “those who prefer European-style beers with substantial flavour.”
You can try these beers, or the other options, at the brewery in Quidi Vidi Village (referred to as “The Gut” by locals). It’s a rustic, historic fishing village perfect for escaping the busy-ness of the city. “Newfoundland is a great place if you love the outdoors,” Fong states. “It’s technically a city but there’s so much nature less than five minutes’ drive away from downtown!” And the open-door policy at Quidi Vidi means you’ll always be welcome to drop by for a tasting.
6 Ship Cove Rd, Port Rexton
This brewery can be found three hours away from St. John’s in the quaint town of Port Rexton, which sits at the start of Ship Cove. Sip and sample the beers — which range from an American-style West Coast IPA (Horse Chops) to a robust porter (T-Rex) — while you enjoy the scenery; or visit for one of their game nights, like Trivia Thursdays.
97 Conception Bay Highway, Clarke’s Beach
This small craft distillery is dedicated to using local ingredients and making the finest spirits. The brand is growing and expanding throughout the country. The distillery recently released an Aquavit (Scandinavian-style whisky) that has hints of charred juniper, local peat and a surprising smoothness.